African American Poetry (1870-1928): A Digital Anthology

Langston Hughes, "For an Indian Screen" (1927)

For an Indian Screen 
Langston Hughes

Clutching at trees and clawing rocks
And panting and climbing
Until he reached the top
A tiger in India
Surmounted a cliff one day
When the hunters were behind him
And his lair was far away.
A black and golden tiger
Climbed a red cliff’s side
And men in black and golden gowns
Sought the tiger's hide.

O, splendid, supple animal:
Against the cliff's red face:
A picture for an Indian screen
Woven in silks of subtle sheen
And broidered in yellow lace,
A picture for an Indian screen
As a prince's gift to some ebony queen
In a far-off land like a fairy scene.

Published in Opportunity, March 1927

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